Updated on 09/15/2011 1:04PM

Take battle-toughened Bruins over Buckeyes


LAS VEGAS - College football is a game of emotion. Home-field advantage is considered bigger in the college game than the pro game, and "revenge" games and traditional rivalries also tend to be given more weight by handicappers than in the NFL.

This week, football bettors have been trying to gauge how last week's terrorist hijackings and the subsequent postponement of games will affect teams. I'm reluctant to go there, except to say that if there's an edge, it would be for home teams that can feed off enthusiastic and patriotic crowds without the stress of players getting on a plane.

Ohio St. at UCLA (-6 1/2)

This is the only match-up of ranked teams this weekend Ohio State didn't exactly dominate Akron in a 28-14 victory in its only game so far, while UCLA has beaten Alabama and Kansas, so the class edge goes to the Bruins. UCLA's offense is centered around tailback DeShaun Foster, but if the Buckeyes dedicate too many defenders to the run, Bruins QB Cory Paus can air it out to

the talented tandem of Brian Poli-Dixon and Tab Perry. This game opened with the Bruins favored by 7 1/2.

PLAY: UCLA for 22 units (to win 20).

Michigan State (+9) at Notre Dame

Michigan State's 35-21 win over Central Michigan doesn't look impressive until you consider that Central Michigan's two fourth-quarter touchdowns were scored on blocked punts. Spartans RB T.J. Duckett will get his yards against the Irish, and Notre Dame's offense will continue to struggle in the midst of a QB controversy involving Matt LoVecchio and Carlyle Holiday. If the

Spartans can tighten up the kicking game (they had four punts blocked by the same guy in the game vs. Central Michigan), they have a great shot to pull off an outright upset.

PLAY: Michigan State for 11 units.

Western Michigan at Michigan (-15)

I like when a good team gets two weeks to prepare for a weaker opponent. If this game had been played last week, I would pass on laying the 15 points, but the extra week will benefit the Wolverines. Michigan's defense didn't allow an offensive touchdown in its 23-18 loss at Washington and should be able to hold Western Michigan in check. On offense, Michigan has two capable running backs in Chris Perry and B.J. Askew and a star receiver in Marcus Walker (who caught 15 passes vs. Washington).

PLAY: Michigan for 11 units.


Alabama -9 1/2 over Arkansas, Temple -1 over Bowling Green, and Oregon -6 1/2 over USC. I'm still not sold on Arkansas's team. Bowling Green's Andy Sahm is questionable for the game, so expect this line to go up if he's declared out.

Oregon is battle-tested and Joey Harrington & Co. should roll at home.

Starting bankroll: 1,000 units.

Sept. 8 results: 0-3 for loss of 33 units.

Current bankroll: 955 units.